Sunday, September 18, 2011

Team Bartilucci's CMBA Guilty Pleasures Blogathon Double-Feature: CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC and THE APPLE

This review is part of the CMBA Guilty Pleasures Blogathon. The Blogathon runs from September 18th through 20th, 2011. By all means, please leave comments for one and all! :-) 

 Dorian’s Pick: Can’t Stop the Music (1980)

I was first introduced to The Village People’s first and last musical Can’t Stop the Music (CStM) by my delightful Fordham University chum Barbara Prisco in the mid-1980s. At first I was just plain gobsmacked by its garish ineptitude, but somehow upon subsequent viewings, it became more compelling and — dare I say it? — endearing, especially when our pals and fellow movie mavens/writers Michael Gingold and Matthew Kiernan scored us a mint copy of the DVD. This time, the glittery opening titles sequence dazzled me like a magpie faced with a shiny object, and I won’t deny that its engaging anthem, David London's “Sound of the City,” had me smiling and nostalgic for the way Manhattan was when our family lived there. Life has never been quite the same for us (or NYC, for that matter) since. CStM is a textbook example of two different breeds of Bad Movies:

  1. The “So Bad It’s Good” Movie.
  2. The “Cash in On a Fad While It’s Hot” Movie.
Baskin-Robbins Can't Stop the Nuts ice cream
To slightly paraphrase the title of the Quantic song, time was the enemy of The Village People (The VPs) and CStM. By the time show biz producer/glitzmeister Allan Carr got this Nancy Walker-directed musical extravaganza and its aggressive marketing campaign into movie theaters (Baskin-Robbins even had an ice cream flavor called “Can’t Stop the Nuts”), the hot band’s movie was more like a hot mess. It was already 1980, and both The VPs and their 1970s musical stylings were considered to be on their way out, despite having released their album Live and Sleazy with a single optimistically titled “Ready for the ’80s.” To paraphrase Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet, after three years of shining success, the poor VPs could hardly have understood what power was destroying them. How could they have known that AIDS and other unpleasantness would soon rear their ugly heads? How could they have anticipated that the music of the 1980s wouldn’t be disco, but New Wave and power ballads? Moreover, not only does CStM essentially turn The VPs into extras in their own movie, but its attempts to make the Pre-Fab Six look like hetero heartthrobs by throwing attractive women at them at every opportunity often comes off as patronizing. Nevertheless, I liked CStM’s Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney-style “Let’s put on a show!” format. The movie is studded with guest stars, mostly The VPs’ fellow Casablanca Records artists, including sexy girl singers The Ritchie Family, and an interesting motley crew of celebrities including June Havoc (the original Baby June, as fans of Gypsy well know!), Barbara Rush, Tammy Grimes (love her gorgeous violet outfits!), Paul Sand, Jack Weston, and Altovise Davis, wife of Sammy Davis Jr., as the lucky gal who discovers both Ray Simpson, The Cop (he had replaced original lead singer Victor Willis) and the shy, affable Alex Briley, who becomes The VPs’ G.I. The band is complete when Leatherman (and my fellow Bronxite) Glenn Hughes shows up at auditions. Actually, Glenn’s there to get an extension on his income tax, but ends up wowing everyone with his genuinely moving rendition of “Danny Boy” (still dressed in his leather gear, bless him)! Another CStM guest star: Leigh Taylor-Young, beloved from TV series ranging from the long-running TV version of Peyton Place to Picket Fences, as well as movies, including Soylent Green (1973) and the 1969 movie version of Elmore Leonard’s The Big Bounce, and so much more. Taylor-Young’s cast credit is arguably the wordiest:  “Cameo Guest Appearance by Leigh Taylor-Young.” Not to nit-pick, but shouldn’t the whole point of a movie cameo be that they don’t announce the star in question before she appears onscreen? Just sayin’….

Supermodel Sam’s having a dry(ing) spell.
Oscar-nominee (but not for CStM) Valerie Perrine has starred in prestigious yet offbeat films like Slaughterhouse Five (1972) and Lenny (1974) over the course of her long career, so I’m not surprised that she was game to co-star with The VPs. Perrine plays recently-retired supermodel Samantha Simpson, In fact, since the retirement was Sam’s idea and she’s still in demand despite turning down offers left and right, she’s become renowned as “the Garbo of models,” no less! To borrow a lyric from Bette Midler, you gotta have friends, and our Sam is apparently the straight best friend to all of her handsome gay Greenwich Village neighbors — not that any of the characters (or screenwriters) admit that out loud. The word “gay” never actually slips from anyone’s lips. It’s so cute how they keep pairing up The VPs with pretty young women. Ready for the ’80s? Not so much, back in the day. The closest we get to acknowledging and accepting homosexuals in CStM is this heated dialogue Samantha has with Bruce Jenner as priggish tax lawyer and St. Louis transplant Ron White (even his name sounds bland and uptight) just before he leaves Sam’s lovely apartment in a huff, which appears to be Ron’s favorite mode of transportation:
Ron: “Let’s put it this way: your friends are a little far-out for me.”
“What do you mean?”
Ron: “I don’t understand why a good-looking girl like you is down here in the Village with a bunch of…I don’t know what!”
Sam: “Do you know something? I don’t judge people, I accept them. There isn’t a person who breathes who doesn’t have certain peculiarities, and as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody, it’s all right with me.”
Ron: “Yeah, but where do you draw the line?”
“With uptight squares like you! (She slams the door on him.) Really!”
Panic at the Disco? Nah, just Neon Maniacs!
Our Sam is not only loyal, she’s downright peripatetic, perhaps a tad too much so at times. Her voice occasionally sounds like she’s been mixing uppers and helium. One of her best pals is VP Felipe Rose, a.k.a.The Indian of the about-to-be-formed VPs. Felipe goes around the Village in an elaborate American Indian headpiece and little else, and comes into Sam’s place through her window (good thing she lives in a garden apartment!) to watch Lone Ranger reruns. Free-spirited Sam doesn’t mind: “Why not? This is neighborly New York.” Another one of Sam’s pals is young aspiring songwriter Jack Morell, played by Steve Guttenberg (and modeled after The VPs’ creator Jacques Morali) , best known from Diner, the Police Academy flicks, and Curtis Hanson’s Hitchcock manque The Bedroom Window (1987). For all I know, Guttenberg may be the nicest guy in the world, but in every film I’ve ever seen him in, somehow he’s always managed to grate on my nerves while being about as winsome and exciting as pabulum. How is that possible? Anyway, Jack gets a guest DJ stint at the hot Manhattan disco Saddletramps, run by sleazy owner Benny Murray, played by beloved character actor Weston. Sexy Sam dirty-dances with several attractive gents, including two more VPs: The Construction Worker, David Hodo; and The Cowboy, Randy Jones. The club patrons dance the night away to Jack’s tunes, especially the song he wrote for Sam, appropriately titled “Samantha.” (Click here for the music video.) Sam is sold and eager to help Jack get his music out to the loving public. She plans to call on music producers she’s “danced and romanced” with in her lively past: “Mama has connections!” Of course, it’s not that easy, what with Sam’s record company mogul ex, Steve Waits (Sand stands out as a sleazy, funny foil), willing to work with Sam if she’ll get back together with him and pay The VPs peanuts, the cheap so-and-so!
This is the sexiest scene in CStMtoo bad it's not even in the film!

Hot girl, hot lasagna, 1st-degree burns; that’s comedy!
Pabulum Boy Guttenberg is Brad Pitt compared to Olympic Decathlete-turned-actor Bruce Jenner as the easily-offended Ron. In a movie like this, you just know that sooner or later Sam and Ron will fall for each other, if only because it’s in the script. To borrow a line from Mad Magazine’s Caine Mutiny parody, there’s gotta be a romance, by George! Jenner’s big seduction scene with Perrine must be one of the most inept love scenes ever committed to celluloid. Granted, Ron is supposed to be a klutz, perhaps to show that he has range (an Olympic athlete playing a klutz! My sides — they’ve split!), but Ron isn’t even a funny, endearing klutz like the kind that, say, Chevy Chase used to play at that point in his career. That Prince Valiant haircut didn’t do Jenner any favors, either. In any case, I was longing for someone to smack hot-and-cold-running Ron upside the head! To be fair, Jenner also isn’t helped by the fact that screenwriters Allan Carr and Bronte Woodard apparently thought household accidents and their accompanying injuries were the height of hilarity. Hey, nobody loves knockabout screwball comedy more than I do! But I’m afraid CStM’s slapstick accidents are ineptly staged, and look more painful than funny, e.g. searingly hot lasagna spilled in someone’s lap, hair getting painfully caught on things, etc. On the positive side, it’s the next best thing to having someone smack Ron upside the head! Then there’s Marilyn Sokol as Sam’s man-hungry BFF Lulu Brecht. Our family adored Sokol in Foul Play (1978) and other comedies, but for some reason Walker directed Sokol to act like Lena Hyena and look like Tim Curry in drag, and without even the luxury of a Rocky Horror-style feather boa and teddy! Poor Lulu isn’t even allowed to be smart; at the very least, she needs to brush up on her American History as she ogles Felipe wearing his American Indian garb, purring, “I’ll make up for all the indignities they suffered in Roots!”

Will Tammy Grimes’ purple reign make Marilyn Sokol turn yellow?
Seems like every few minutes, someone in CStM burbles about how the 1980s will be “wonderfully new and different,” and yet everything else about the flick screams “1970s,” from the disco scenes to Samantha’s Lycra slutwear. And why hasn’t Sam gone blind from storing her hard contact lenses in mustard and relish jars in her fridge? That said, CStM does have its strengths: the movie certainly has plenty of verve; cute in-jokes (like “Marrakesh Records,” clearly spoofing the VPs’ Casablanca Records); deliciously gaudy-bordering-on-garish production numbers with eye-popping fashions by the great Theoni V. Aldredge; and when The VPs do get to speak, they’re as affable as they are cute. Most people remember “Y.M.C.A.,” performed in a beefcake-populated gym, but my favorite is “Do the Shake,” which is way more fun than any of the milk-slurping, leotard-wearing, or jeans-clad Yuppies in that era’s tasteful, health-conscious American Dairy Association ads. As Sam’s agent Sydne Channing, Tammy Grimes vows to “make milk more glamorous than champagne…I’m going to insist they cork it!”

Watch for the remake: Dario Argento's Can't Stop the Music!
The club-footed direction of Bounty-hawker Walker evokes Vincente Minnelli possessed by the spirit of Ed Wood after going on a bender. This proves that men and women are truly equal, at least when it comes to film direction: female directors are just as capable of making bad movies as male directors! Still, I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t resist movies shot on location in New York City that show unemployed people living in huge, gorgeous apartments worthy of Architectural Digest, with homeless people and muggers who also happen to be cute, clean, and peppy. It must have been a scorching day when they filmed the scene between Jenner and Perrine across the street from the U.N. (a hop, skip, and jump from the Manhattan apartment building where our family lived at the time!), because you can see the poor woman’s long, lustrous hair drooping from the heat with each step. Another attraction for me is that CStM was filmed in the NYC of my youth; I’m always reminded of the places I went to when I lived in Manhattan, and how different it was in good and bad ways (for instance, I’m one of those kooks who actually applauds the de-sleazing of Times Square!). Love it or hate it, CStM keeps your eyes glued to it with the fascination of a horrific traffic accident — and you can hum along with it, by George!

Eat your heart out, Busby Berkeley!

When you got it, milk it, baby, milk it!
Get your toes tapping and have a disco ball with these links to CStM musical numbers: 
David Hodo, CStM: “I Love You to Death”

Vinnie's Pick: The Apple (1980)
What was it about the year 1980? Was it the glee of watching the numbers flip? The promise of a brand spanking new decade? We'll never know, but somehow this one year brought us not only the masterpiece The Wife has presented you, but also the musical burr in your boot that is The Apple.

First off , it was created and produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, masterminds behind Cannon Productions, a film company that may be more representative of the '80s than we may care to admit. It's written by Golan, and can't seem to decide which end of the Bible it wanted to be an allegory, and so it steals liberally from both Genesis and Revelations. The films starts at the Eurovision song contest and ends with The Rapture.
The film takes place in the "distant future" of 1994, a miraculous world where everyone is wearing...basically what they wear in the most embarrassingly popular disco, only more so. Shoulder pads are bigger, fabric is vinylier, and apparently it's now legally required too look like either a whore, a pimp, or just a damn fool. The outfits are a distinct visual shorthand - the bad guys wear the flashy duds, and the good guys dress like people. Cars all resemble late-model station wagons with crazy fins and spoilers welded on. Apparently they only manufacture about six models of automobile now, because no matter how many places you look, that's all you see on the road. It's hilarious to watch the wealthy and powerful baddies of the film pile into the SAME car, over and over.
Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal) faces down Bob Pitman (George S. Clinton)
It stars Catherine Mary Stewart, later of Night of the Comet and The Last Starfighter. She and One-Film Wonder George Gilmour play, respectively, Bibi and Alphie, a singing duo from Moosejaw, Saskatchewan who catch the eye and raise the ire of Mr. Boogalow, the world's most powerful music producer, and, apparently, the Devil. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal; From Russia With Love's Alexei Kronsteen himself) rigs the (thinly disguised) Eurovision Song Contest when Alphie and Bibi's heartwarming love song almost defeats his heavily produced and marketed number, "BIM" and immediately starts marketing BIM-merchandise, including an adhesive mark that he insists everyone starts wearing. Less than ten minutes in and the apocalypse-allegory is starting!

Boogalow wants to sign the pair; Bibi is all for it, but Alphie smells a rat. Not to mention when they visit Boogalow's office, he starts having visions - he imagines an earthquake rocks the building, and envisions a massive production number in Hell, featuring the titular prop. Alphie runs from the deal like he was prodded with a pitchfork, but Bibi's head is turned, she signs, and is world-famous before he can bottom out in his cheap tenement. At the behest of his landlady (the delightful character actress Miriam Margolyes, playing a Jewish stereotype worthy of Judd Hirsch in Independence Day), he keeps trying to sell songs, but naturally, his work "isn't what they're looking for".

Another example of the stark realism that permeates this film
Bibi's star is on the rise, and so is Boogalow's. The BIM-Mark is now legally mandatory, and Boogalow's power seems almost supernatural in its breadth and speed. Alphie tries to contact Bibi repeatedly, and though she seems keen on talking to him, they are kept apart by a wall of spandex-clad flunkies and bodyguards. Alphie crashes one of Boogalow's traditionally lavish parties to save Bibi, but with the help of Something In His Drink and some crazy camera lenses, he hallucinates Bibi in bed with one of the BIM singers, and he gets shagged rotten by another. He awakes in the park surrounded by hippies, under the benevolence of Joss Ackland, the baddie from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. They take him into their commune, and he stays with them while Bibi finally works up the onions to leave Boogalow's control. Her escape is rather underwhelming - the singer who shagged Alphie at the party suddenly comes off all penitent and helps Bibi leave the corporate apartment. Not escape, leave; Boogalow's head flunkie just chooses to let her leave, as if freedom will somehow teach her a lesson, and she'll come back beggin' for more fame and sequined spandex.

Bibi finds Alphie via the sage advice of his Very Jewish Ex-Landlady, and their reunion in the commune is brief and melodic. Suddenly it's a year later; the pair have had a baby and everything, and Boogalow have only JUST tracked them down, never mind that their secret hiding place is a public park walking distance from his offices. They arrive with a small militia and battery of attorneys, claiming that Bibi owes Boogalow International Music the sum of ten million dollars - it's not made clear if that represents lost wages or the security deposit on her corporate apartment.

The BIM-army lead the hippies away, and it's only at THIS point that the film gets weird. While Bibi wonders what will happen to them, Alphie begins talking about a mysterious "Mister Topps" who he is sure will arrive. And arrive he does, via a golden Lincoln Continental in the sky. Mister Topps is, apparently, God, and is ALSO played by Joss Ackland, with no explanation whatsoever. He and Boogalow know each other, and in spite of the the producer's protests, he guides Alphie, Bibi, their child, and the rest of the commune away, and off into the sky. He plans to take them to another world, one "free of the pollution" of Boogalow.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Chuck DeNomolos saves the world by Rapturing the hippies. Never before has there been a filmic world I so seriously want to live in.

Judging from the trailer, a great deal more time was apparently intended to be spent with the hippies, but was left on the proverbial cutting room floor. So for all we know there's some vital expository dialogue sitting in a can (film, or trash...if indeed there's a difference) somewhere that explains the mysterious connection between the Two Josses, a line that would reduce the mad left turn the film takes. But we don't see it, and so a film that was only blatantly allegorical becomes outrageously so in the final minutes.

It's the first film score of George S., not the man behind Funkadelic, but the composer and music producer of things like Red Shoe Diaries and Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure. His music is technically impressive, but it's all utterly soulless. He goes for obvious rhymes and scansion, as if he read the best books available about how to write music, and followed the rules to the letter. He hits a bunch of genres: power ballad, wall of sound, disco and even rudimentary heavy metal. They're all perfectly good songs, and the cast perform them very well - Catherine Mary Stewart's got some serious pipes. But it's all like so much dietary fiber, it goes right through you. One song, "I'm Coming", is the single most blatantly sexual disco songs I've ever heard, and if it had even a NOTE or satire or irony in it, could be the single best parody of a disco song ever. But there isn't - it's played utterly straight. He also has no idea how to stop a song. Too many of them end with incessant repetition of the tune's hook, well past its welcome has run out.
“They Call me Mister Topps” – Not a funny caption – ACTUAL line from movie
The dancing, however, is absolutely stellar. It's some of the last choreographic work of Nigel Lythgoe, who's gone on to much greater fame as among other things, judge and executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance. The dance moves are precise and imaginative. The dancers actually can dance, and Nigel comes up with some modern moves that still hold up. Like so many films that take place in The Future, the movie seems to have been filmed in a series of modern hotels and shopping malls, but it feels like it was conceived and written in a really crowded disco. It's loud and pounding and there's an underlying scent of sweat and desperation in the air. And somehow, I can't stop watching it.


  1. Oh boy, does "can't Stop the Music" bring back memories! Someday, the 70s will comeback in style, but for now, Dorian, I have to watch this one with the blinds shut. You are a brave woman for coming out with this one! As for "The Apple" - that's new to me, but I don't expect to see it on the TCM lineup anytime soon Thanks Team B for a fun stroll down memory lane! Did we really dress like that?

  2. Dorian, I love your opening paragraph. I can't you how many times I've seen a movie in a theatre, thought "eh", rediscovered it years later, and became a fan. It's nice to know I'm not the only film buff with this affliction. Part of the charm of CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC is how it captures a specific time and a place--that awkward music scene between the death of disco and the techno-influenced sounds of the 1980s. I'm surprised it hasn't become more of a cult hit with Bruce Jenner's newfound (minor) celeb status as Kim Kardashian's stepfather. CAN'T STOP is an energetic film and you do a fine job describing its appeal. It's much more satisfying that SGT PEPPER, which came out a couple of years before it. Vinnie, I haven't seen THE APPLE--which is interesting because I watched an awful lot of Cannon films in the 1980s. It certainly sounds funkadelic, so I will be on the lookout for it!

  3. Okay, you crazy kids! When I saw your picks for the Blogathon I knew it would be a riot. I have those music centric films on my Guilty Pleasures list but they are "Moulin Rouge" which I've seen at least 50 times and worn out two DVD's for then as a kid I watched Grease so many times my parents cut me off from theater funds for several months. (Which is okay because I had the picture book of every memorable scene)

    If someone were to stop me on the street to tell me "Hey, The Village People made a movie with Valerie Perrine and Bruce Jenner BUT it doesn't suck" I might walk a bit quicker then make sure that person wasn't following me. And who knew there was such a fabric as 'vinylier'? Is it still available or highly flammable, does it come in Sherbet Orange?

    You managed to keep me laughing throughout Team B, which is my favorite way to read any review! I also want to watch this craptacular on your couch with you while hugging a faux fur pillow as Vinnie taps his snake skinned boots to the hip beats. Darn you for making me want to see these films and darn you for making me crave Can't Stop The Nut ice cream this early in the morning.

    1980 really did make our future look so bright and titillating. Oh, and I'm one of the few that LOATHES The Rocky Horror Picture Show so thanks for the Tim Curry reference. (Throws burnt toast at the laptop)

    Love you guys and loved your funtastic review.

  4. Well, I haven't seen either The Apple or Can't Stop the Music, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of your reviews.

    My favorite line from Dorian's had to be: "The club-footed direction of Bounty-hawker Walker evokes Vincente Minnelli possessed by the spirit of Ed Wood after going on a bender. This proves that men and women are truly equal, at least when it comes to film direction: female directors are just as capable of making bad movies as male directors!" I loved the Village People as a child and, of course, I had no idea they were gay until I got into my teens. I wasn't allowed to see this film when it was parents obviously knew something I didn't. As such, I've never seen it. I might look it up.

    As for Vinnie's The Apple, loved this line: "Boogalow's head flunkie just chooses to let her leave, as if freedom will somehow teach her a lesson, and she'll come back beggin' for more fame and sequined spandex." Oh, I remember those fashions with a cringe and your post reminds me why.

    Great reviews...loved the jokes.

  5. Great Googly Moogly. so much awesome, this post, where to begin, without just repeating bits, Chris Farley style? As usual you pack so many great factoids background and references sheer wit into all your writing: joy to read and re-read! Amazing how people imagined the far FAR future of the 80s and 90s to be just, shinier with better neon and bigger mirrors. Lovely dialogue with the Far-out, uptight square and the "I don't know whats." I marvel how Bruce Jenner looks younger today than he did back then. and just as a little fun trivia tidbit I like to wheel out now and again, Barbara Rush is the mom of FNC reporter Claudia Cowan. Bibi & Alphie were probably the only people from Moosejaw NOT in the NHL. Which reminds me, a gas station worker asked a couple of tourists where they hailed from, they answered, "Saskatoon, Saskatchewan." When his boss asked him what the tourists said, he said "I dunno, they didn't speak English."
    Thanks for the great post

  6. Dorian, - You have held nothing back here. "Hello, my name is Dorian and I am a fan of CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC" (LOL). Somehow, I think your extremely funny review is more entertaining the movie, which I have not seen. I love some of your lines..
    "Walker directed Sokol to act like Lena Hyena and look like Tim Curry in drag"
    "Pabulum Boy Guttenberg is Brad Pitt compared to Olympic Decathlete-turned-actor Bruce Jenner"
    "The club-footed direction of Bounty-hawker Walker evokes Vincente Minnelli possessed by the spirit of Ed Wood after going on a bender" (I know Kim previously mentioned this but it's worth pointing it out twice.)

    Funny stuff. The Village People actually scared me in a weird out sort of way. Actually, anything with Allan Carr's name on it scares me!

    Vinnie - I never heard of THE APPLE but I have heard of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the "masterminds" behind Cannon Films. Not quite but just about every film they ever produced could probably be considered a GP.

    Thanks to Team B for two entertaining and gutsy GP's.


  7. Dorian and Vinnie, without the slightest hint of irony, you have both selected rare gems of the guilty pleasures variety. Neither of these titles rises from the mists of childhood memories with a pang (shameful or otherwise) of recognition, and I spent this period of my youth in a large, cosmopolitan city. I vaguely recall the embarrassment that was St. Pepper’s (as Rick mentioned) and Xanadu, but why, oh why, didn’t I know the Village People made a film? I can’t say I would add either film to my must see list, even if I had a serious case of insomnia at 3 in the morning, but it is oddly reassuringly to know that along with Kramer vs. Kramer; Ordinary People; Raging Bull and The Seduction of Joe Tynan, 1980 gave us at least two really good alternative films (I bemoan my sheltered youth. I never should have settled for glitter socks when I wanted sequins and spandex).

  8. FlickChick, I'm delighted that you enjoyed reading Team Bartilucci's wacky CStM/APPLE blog post as much as Vinnie and I enjoyed writing it -- thanks! I love your question "Did we really dress like that?" Well, if you thought I was brave for 'fessing up that CStM grew on me over the years ("like a fungus," Vinnie has quipped :-)), you should have seen the pink David Bowie-"Serious Moonlight"-style pink suit I was wearing the day Vinnie and I met in 1985! :-) Someday, the 70s will comeback in style, but for now, Dorian, I have to watch this one with the blinds shut. LOL over your quip "Someday, the 70s will comeback in style, but for now, Dorian, I have to watch this one with the blinds shut." Thanks for the '80s memories and mirth! :-)

  9. Rick, thanks for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed our CStM/APPLE post, and I'm even more glad that you have the same bad-movie rediscovery "affliction" that Vin and I do -- nice to know we're not alone in this! :-) You nailed it when you said: "Part of the charm of CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC is how it captures a specific time and a place--that awkward music scene between the death of disco and the techno-influenced sounds of the 1980s." Since you remarked upon Bruce Jenner having become Kim K.'s stepdad, I wonder if he lets his hair down and watches CStM with the girls, or if he's relegated it to an attic a la THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY? :-)

  10. Page, mucho thanks for your fond, funtastic feedback on our CStM/APPLE extravaganza! Vinnie wants to know which MOULIN ROUGE you prefer: the 2001 MR, or the original with Jose Ferrer? They're each enjoyably wild and crazy in their own ways! :-)

    Funny you should mention those fumetti-style book adaptations of both CStM and GREASE: I had a similar paperback adaptation of CStM! I haven't seen it in years, though; it's probably hiding in the farthest reaches of our home library, waiting to strike! :-) Vin and I have often wondered if those fumetti movie-to-book adaptations were among your inspirations for your hilarious MY LOVE OF OLD HOLLYWOOD pictorials -- what's the skinny, if we may ask?

    The rest of your witty comments had us dissolving into helpless laughter, from "...I might walk a bit quicker then make sure that person (who thought CStM didn't suck) wasn't following me..." to "I also want to watch this craptacular on your couch with you while hugging a faux fur pillow as Vinnie taps his snake skinned boots to the hip beats." Don't be surprised if our tween-age daughter Siobhan joins us in the fun; while we were looking for YouTube music clips, Shugie fell in love with The Village People's soundtrack tunes.

    Thanks for the praise and the fun, Page! Looking forward to your colorized KING KONG! Love ya!

  11. Kim, thanks so much! Vinnie and I are delighted that you enjoyed our Guilty Pleasures reviews, especially the particular lines you quoted, since those are among our own favorites. I hear ya about the cringeworthy fashions; see my comment to FlickChick about more of my goofy fashion choices from that era! :-)

    By the way, I love your picture of your (?) adorable dog! :-) Thanks again for joining in the conversation!

  12. Team B,
    The 2001 version of course! Heelllooo, Ewan McGregor.
    I hadn't even thought of having that picture scene book of Grease until reading your review so sadly it didn't give me any inspiration, only a few paper cuts and dreams of wanting to be a Beauty School Drop Out too.
    You two are the best.

  13. Kristina, we're happy to have you drop by here at TotED as your "hqofk" alter ego! :-) Thanks a million for your enthusiastic praise of Team B.'s CStM/APPLE double-bill! Small world: I'd heard of Fox reporter Claudia Cowan, but I had no idea she was the daughter of the ever-fabulous Barbara Rush.

    Vin and I LOL over your quip: "Bibi & Alphie were probably the only people from Moosejaw NOT in the NHL." We also got a kick out of your "Saskatoon, Saskatchewan" joke! Ironically, it so happens Vinnie was born in Canada, specifically Prince Edward Island; he was adopted by my late in-laws when he was a baby, and he grew up in New York on Long Island.

    Thanks for joining the conversation, Kristina! And by the way, everybody, if by some twist of fate you haven't visited and enjoyed Kristina's fab new Web site SPEAKEASY, here's the link:

  14. John, your response to our CStM/APPLE post is even funnier than Team B.'s own bon mots! :-) In particular, Vin and I truly LOL over your quip: "Hello, my name is Dorian and I am a fan of CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC"!

    You're right, Allan Carr was pretty scary himself in his glitzy way, though the Golan-Globus/Cannon juggernaut seemed to give them a run for their money for a while there. :-) Thanks for your praise and for always having your own witty, intelligent contributions to the conversation!

  15. Whistling Gypsy, I love it that you wittily described Team B.'s Guilty Pleasures double-feature as "alternative films," as well as your quips about opting for glitter socks over sequins and spandex! :-)

    If it's any consolation, I did see SGT. PEPPER during its theatrical release when I was in middle school (known as "junior high school" back in the day). Can you imagine a SGT. PEPPER/CStM/XANADU triple-bill? I don't know whether to laugh or cry! Oh, what the heck, I'll take laughter! :-) Funny you should mention the possibility of watching CStM at 3 a.m., because if I recall correctly, I believe I might very well have watched it for the first time on the Late Show at that very time, or at least recorded it on VHS (remember VHS?)! :-) I thoroughly enjoyed your comments; thanks for joining the conversation!

  16. Well, TB, I was certainly around at the time, but I never saw either of these ...movies(?) And, I don't think I missed a thing! I can't imagine that the actual films would be more entertaining than your summaries, captioned pictures and hilarious comments. Great job, guys!

  17. Becky, thanks for joining the conversation; we're always happy to have you around with your wit and wisdom, my friend! Thanks for your kind comments, too! I had to laugh when I realized you and our other blogger buds here are enjoying Team B.'s reviews more than the films themselves. I've been told that often when I describe movies or stories, I make them sound better than they really are. Must be the cockeyed optimist side of me coming to the fore! Then again, that's why they're called Guilty Pleasures, right? :-)

  18. "The club-footed direction of Bounty-hawker Walker evokes Vincente Minnelli possessed by the spirit of Ed Wood after going on a bender." - I think I will forever be haunted by this image, although I haven't seen "Can't Stop the Music". Best. Line. Ever.

  19. I haven't seen "Can't Stop the Music" (but I do remember The Village People - Yikes!) or "The Apple" - which I actually hadn't heard of.

    Both write-ups are enjoyable and entertaining but...I don't know what it would take for me to ever watch or listen to The Village People again!

    I'm betting these two posts are much better than the movies they're about!

  20. Caftan Woman, your post was the first one I read this morning, and it started my day (indeed, my week) with a big laugh and an even bigger smile. Happy to see that you and the rest of the gang here enjoyed my "Bounty-hawker Walker...Ed Wood on a bender" line, too! Thanks a million!

  21. Eve, thanks for your praise of Team B.'s Guilty Pleasures write-ups about CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC and THE APPLE! I got a kick out of your comments:

    1.) "I don't know what it would take for me to ever watch or listen to The Village People again!" I'll admit CStM isn't for the faint of heart. :-)

    2.) "I'm betting these two posts are much better than the movies they're about!" See my comments to Becky above. :-)

    Thanks again for your smart, funny comments, Eve!

  22. I was also going to comment on the Ed Wood line, but Caftan Woman beat me to it. I've never seen either of these but your reviews were so enjoyable I may have to seek them out.

    I do remember a Merv Griffin show that was totally devoted to "Can't Stop the Music." Allan Carr really knew his publicity. Nancy Walker was on and kept talking about how hard The Village People worked on the film.

  23. Kevin, many thanks for your compliments about our CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC/THE APPLE double-bill post! I must admit that if I came across Merv Griffin's CStM episode, I'd feel compelled to watch it just to see what they'd all have to say about their magnum opus! :-)

  24. OMG ... these reviews were so much fun to read! I loved them. I don't think I've ever heard of "The Apple," but I do remember "Can't Stop the Music" and thinking, "Yes they can!" You have a way with words and your wit is dead on. I was so entertained that I felt the need to grab some bell bottoms, dig out my vinyl and sit down for a double feature!

  25. Hey, Brian (if you'd prefer that I go with your "Classicfilmboy" handle, that's fine, too, of course! Please let me know, won't you?), beaucoup thanks for your enthusiastic praise! I'm flattered and honored that you enjoyed Team B.'s CStM/APPLE reviews! I got a big kick out of your "need to grab some bell bottoms, dig out (your) vinyl and sit down for a double feature"! Thanks for starting our Tuesday so nicely!

  26. Reading about CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC from the perspective of the early 21st century, it's hard to believe that the Village People were once such a phenom. And now disco seems so nostalgic! CStM is like a 1970s time capsule (did Baskin-Robbins really have an ice-cream-cone tie-in?). I haven't seen THE APPLE, but from your description, it sounds (like Mr Topps) pretty over the top! Enjoyed your post!

  27. GOM, we're glad you enjoyed our CStM post! I hope you and the rest of the gang here who haven't seen THE APPLE yet will seek it out; it's worth seeing for the "What The...?!" factor alone! :-) You hit it with a pin with your mention of CStM resembling a 1970s time capsule. Thanks for your praise and for joining the conversation!

  28. There's a perfectly good reason why I've never seen Can't Stop the Music...I consider disco music to be an abomination. So while the movie provides a wealth of NYC memories for Dorian all it would offer me is a recollection of laughing my ass off at my male friends who were trying to show off their moves to women and failing miserably at the task. (I did get a kick out of "...just before he leaves Sam’s lovely apartment in a huff, which appears to be Ron’s favorite mode of transportation," though.)

    I haven't seen The Apple either, but after reading Vinny's review it sounds like I won't have to ("They call me MISTER Topps...". And I'm stealing the "So for all we know there's some vital expository dialogue sitting in a can (film, or trash...if indeed there's a difference)" bit the next time the opportunity arises.

  29. Ivan, I promise that if by some twist of fate we of Team Bartilucci ever meet up with you in person, we would NEVER force you to watch either CStM or THE APPLE; we'd have the courtesy and compassion to wait until after you went home! :-) But we're glad you enjoyed our quips, plus your anecdote about your male friends trying out their dance moves on gals in the disco era was a hoot! Thanks for joining the conversation, as always!

  30. No offense guys, but these two films sound absolutely DREADFUL!! I'd never even heard of THE APPLE though CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC rang a vague chord in my foggy memory. Don't think I ever saw either. No, I KNOW I never saw either.

    Disco music. I was never a big fan.

    As usual, I enjoyed reading the reviews even if I would not venture forth to see these movies for all the Dr. Brown's cream soda in NYC!

  31. Yvette, if we were face to face, I'd gladly treat you to a Dr. Brown's soda (black cherry for me, please) and a nice platter of knishes, blintzes, and New York-style cheesecake to make up for CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC and THE APPLE! :-)

    Even I admit that writing about bad movies is usually more fun than actually having to sit through them, but CStM in particular is so "What the...?!" insane I can't help but laugh, and laughter always makes me feel better. In fact, there was a point in my life when I was unemployed for a lengthy period of time, and I'd watch CStM because I figured no matter how bad things got, they could never be as bad as CStM! :-) But I'm glad you enjoyed our reviews -- thanks, my friend!

  32. Kim, I just wanted to thank you for becoming one of TotED's Followers -- I'm tickled pink! We of Team Bartilucci always enjoy Classic Film and TV Cafe, and I'm looking forward to sitting down and giving ALL ABOUT KIM my undivided attention, too! Thanks again!

  33. I haven't seen either The Apple or Can't Stop the Music, but... I really enjoyed reading both of your reviews.

    I will try watching The Village People movie, after a few appletenis and some Pink Floyd over at Kim's house. (wink/wink).

  34. HA! Dawn, if I didn't happen to be a teetotaler, I'd join you and Kim with an appletini or two. A CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC Appletini is surely the perfect drink for our little double-feature, with or without Pink Floyd! :-) We're pleased you enjoyed our reviews -- many thanks indeed! (FTR, Cherry Coke is my drink of choice.)

  35. I seem to have messed up posting this so here goes again:
    thanks ever so much for your continued support of my blog, I love reading yours and just need to get into the habit of leaving comments to that effect-- (recent surprise discovery: bloggers actually like to hear people READ and LIKE their work, go figure)
    also, PEI huh? that's neat, in the future I shall come prepared with a joke about Anne of Green Gables' potatoes. ;)
    cheerio and thanks !

  36. Kristina, you're a sweetie, and I'm always happy to let the world know about your own and others' awesome blogs! You gave me my first laugh of the morning when you said "recent surprise discovery: bloggers actually like to hear people READ and LIKE their work, go figure." Ain't it the truth! We all need accolades sometimes. :-)

    Got a kick out of your witty comments about my sweet hubby's Prince Edward Island origins and ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! Many thanks and you're welcomes, Kristina -- a virtual visit from you is always a treat!

    P.S.: If you look at the "Further Distractions" column on the right-hand side of this very blog, you'll see SPEAKEASY among my favorite blogs!

  37. I've never had the pleasure, guilty or otherwise (or pleasure or otherwise) of seeing Can't Stop the Music, but I loved you're write-up ("Vincente Minnelli possessed by the spirit of Ed Wood after going on a bender"!). Just for fun, here's a true story:

    When I was a theater student at Cal State Sacramento in the late '60s, one of the shows we did was Carnival, the Broadway musical based on the same story that became the Leslie Caron movie Lili. For the big circus parade production number, Prof. Paul R. Waldo taught one of the students how to eat fire, and it added a lot of pizzazz to the parade and the show.

    A couple years later, that student went to New York to try his luck in showbiz. When he finally got his foot in the door at an agent's, they had him fill out a form listing anything he could do. Can you tapdance? Juggle? Ride a horse? Twirl batons? Wiggle your ears? Put it on the list.

    Well, he puts on the list that he can eat fire -- and lo and behold, suddenly all these jobs start coming in for fire-eaters. Soon he's getting enough gigs to support himself just doing that. So he works up a routine as the world's only roller-skating fire-eater, and that's how he bills himself. Eventually, he even lands on The New What's My Line? (the one with Alan Alda and Larry Blyden). After they (of course) fail to guess his line, he gets up to give them a demonstration. Unfortunately, they've laid down a masonite floor in sections for his demonstration, his skates get caught on one of the seams, and the fluid spills out and badly burns his mouth. And that was the end of his days as a roller-skating fire-eater.

    But there's a happy ending: He grew a moustache to cover the scar on his lip, put on sunglasses and a hardhat, and became the Construction Worker in The Village People. It was David Hodo.

    And now that you know...the Rest of the's another David Hodo story from our Sacramento State days: One day I was sitting in the theater watching some friends rehearse an acting class scene, when Dave came up and sat on the arm of my chair, draped his arm over my shoulders, batted his eyes and Mae-Wested: "So, is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?" I looked him straight in the eye and said, "It's a gun."

  38. Jim, thanks for your compliments about my CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC post, and also for starting my Monday off right with your hilarious anecdotes about your college chum Village Person David Hodo! But I sure am glad he recovered from his fire-eating accident, poor guy! (I wonder how Dave felt in the presence of the fire juggler in CStM's wacky audition scene?) I'm still giggling over you and Dave and the "Is that a gun in your pocket..." anecdote! Heavenly days, it really IS a small world after all. Thanks again for sharing your stories, Jim!